Are We Living in a Simulation？ 我们生活在模拟世界中吗
Annie Palmer 安妮·帕尔默
The idea of humans living in a simulated reality controlled by robotic overlords has been much explored by academics， experts and notable figures like tech mogul Elon Musk.
But in MIT researcher Rizwan Virk's new book， “The Simulation Hypothesis，” he probes the idea further， even examining how long it might take before humans could use today's technology to construct their own simulation of reality.
There are several aspects of our world that explain why it's likely we are all living in a simulation， Virk said in an interview with Vox.
He pointed to “quantum indeterminacy，” or “the idea that a particle is in one of multiple states and you don't know that unless you observe the particle，” Virk said.
Virk elaborated on this idea by noting that he thinks it's more likely the world “isn't really physical，” but instead based on information.
And when the world is looked at in that point of view， it's more likely we're living in a simulation， he said.
“Now， it's a much more sophisticated video game than the games we produce， just like today World of Warcraft and Fortnite are way more sophisticated than Pac-Mac or Space Invaders.”
Often， when experts explain the concept of a simulated reality， they point to the popular 1990s sci-fi film The Matrix.
In the Matrix， the main character Neo， played by Keanu Reeves， is given the choice of taking a blue pill or the red pill. If he takes the red pill， Neo will realize he's living in a simulation and begin to exist in a world outside the simulation.
Virk upholds many of theories laid out in Oxford philosopher Nick Bostrom's seminal 2003 paper， titled“Are You Living In a Computer Simulation？”
In the paper， Bostrom argues that if we were to reach the “posthuman” stage， wherein humans have harnessed the ability to create simulated realities， we would be capable of creating billions of simulated environments.
As a result， if this is to be true， there would be more simulated humans than biological ones.
He goes onto explain that if we live in a simulated reality，there's two different possibilities that could take shape.
Either we're all AI in a simulation that's running on someone's computer， or we're “player characters，”Virk told Digital Trends.
As a player character， we would be “conscious things that exist outside the simulation and we inhabit characters， just like you might take on the character of an elf or dwarf in a fantasy RPG，” he added.
However， just because we all potentially exist in a massive multiplayer online role playing game， it doesn't mean we don't have individual quests to pursue.
“I don't necessarily think we're in a simulation that has one purpose， such as to see if we can handle climate change，” he told Digital Trends.
“Instead， just like in any multiplayer video game，every character has their own individual set of quests and the freedom of choice to decide what to do next.”
So how long could it take before humans are capable of creating their own simulated realities？
Virk has identified “10 stages of technology development”that we'd need to endure before we reach the simulation point.
“We're at about stage five， which is around virtual reality and augmented reality，” Virk told Vox.
“But the really difficult part — and this is something not a lot of technologists have talked about — is in The Matrix the reason they thought they were fully immersed was they had this cord going into the cerebral cortex， and that's where the signal was beamed.”
“...So my guess is within a few decades to 100 years from now， we will reach the simulation point，” he added.